Maplewood Mayor McGehee: ‘It Is Imperative That All Teachers Get Vaccinated ASAP’

by The Village Green
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In a message to constituents tonight, Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee noted the recent dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in Maplewood (205 new cases in 34 days) and also acknowledged the frustration of parents with children in the South Orange-Maplewood School District. McGehee wrote that he is working with the Essex County Mayors group to push the Murphy Administration to expedite the vaccination of teachers. “It is imperative that all teachers get vaccinated as soon as possible,” wrote McGehee.

Read McGehee’s full update here:

COVID-19 update

As of yesterday, Maplewood has 917 confirmed cases. That is 205 new cases in 34 days and a daily average of 6 confirmed cases a day. Regarding the breakout of the age of our cases, we are seeing numbers all over the board. According to our Essex County COVID-19 breakout, as of last week, 9.2% of all positive cases were 17 or younger. Our age range from yesterday’s Maplewood numbers ranged from 1 to 86. This evening was 26 to 75.

With cases on the rise, please do your part to embrace the following behaviors:

  • Avoid indoor gatherings with those who are outside of your immediate household to the extent possible. If you do engage in any type of indoor gathering, wear face coverings and social distance.
  • Do not visit those who are immunocompromised.
  • Keep your number of interactions and the number of people at any gathering as low as possible.
  • Limit your interactions with people outside of your immediate household.
  • Do not go anywhere if you’re sick, and do not dismiss it as a cold or allergies.
  • Wear your face coverings and wash your hands frequently.

Testing:

Please visit Maplewood’s COVID-19 website: https://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/covid19 for a list of testing locations or go to www.essexcovid.org to register for a test.

Resources:

Webinar: Ask an Expert, COVID-19 Town Hall and Q&A https://m.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR1sHIf1dwxvcxIfbgARqPYbWbMhpOTZftW…

Vaccine Plan overview: www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/vaccine 

Get Vaccinated 

When you are eligible, it is important that we all get vaccinated. According to The New York Times, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, currently the only two approved in the U.S., are among the best vaccines ever created, with effectiveness rates of about 95 percent after two doses. As noted: of the 32,000 people who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine in a research trial, only one person contracted a severe Covid case.

Please go to www.essexcovid.org to schedule a vaccine appointment. Note: a confirmed vaccination appointment is contingent upon the results of the required COVID-19 Vaccine Survey.

Back to School 

That said, the delaying of our school’s opening has reached a boiling point of frustration and confusion for our parents and guardians with children enrolled in our school district. I have received hundreds of emails from families in our community recently and please know that I hear you loud and clear. Last week on the Essex County Mayors’ call, I communicated that I think that it is imperative that all teachers get vaccinated as soon as possible to address our teachers’ concerns as well as concerns expressed by our district families and broader community. I stated that if we could provide an opportunity to get all of our teachers vaccinated, this would go a long way to getting our children and workforce back into a normalized routine, all in an effort to enhance their learning experience, close the achievement gap including the digital divide and improve our children’s mental health. I also expressed this to my contacts in the Governor’s Office.

This morning on the Essex County Mayors’ call, Livingston Mayor Klein continued the conversation and suggested a push for the Governor’s Office to work toward getting our teachers vaccinated by leveraging the release of the FDA approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is administered in only one dose and does align with the current refrigeration requirements.  I agree and after the call I joined Mayor Klein and signed on to a letter to Governor Murphy.

Again, the goal is simple. The safety and well-being of our front line public-facing employees is paramount and this includes our South Orange-Maplewood School District teachers and administrative staff.

New Township Administrator Search 

Our efforts to find a new full time administrator are on schedule and the Township looks to make an official announcement in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned.

Thank you for your service.

To all of the residents from Maplewood and South Orange who have volunteered or have signed up to volunteer at one of the Essex County vaccination sites, I want to say thank you. Your efforts to serve our greater community speaks volumes to who we are. Thanks again for rolling up your sleeves and for making a difference.

Together we will

Finally on a personal note, I know that these are trying and difficult times.  The inability to work, play, go to school and do the things that many of us were used to doing is beyond frustrating for all of us.

But we must hang in there and continue to put our best foot forward with compassion, empathy and kindness for the greater good of our community and our personal wellbeing. We will get to the other side of this pandemic and will emerge even stronger and more resilient.

In solidarity

Mayor Frank

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